Arts & Entertainment

Robin, Batman's Trusty Sidekick, Has Officially Come Out in a New Comic

In Batman: Urban Legends #6, Robin agrees to go on a date with Bernard.
IMAGE DC COMICS
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Some people are just too sexy to be straight: George Michael, James Dean, Bert and Ernie, Sebastian the Crab from The Little Mermaid, probably, and now, as we all suspected, Robin. Yes, that Robin. Batman’s trusty sidekick has officially come out as LGBTQ+. In the ending to DC’s Batman: Urban Legends #6, Tim Drake, the latest iteration of Boy Wonder, has an epiphany after rescuing his friend Bernard from a villain.

“Ever have a lightbulb moment?” Drake wonders aloud in the comic. “Like something out in the ether has been taunting you, teasing you. Like you know you’re supposed to be on the same page as your brain but not everything made sense. People keep asking me what I want. But I couldn’t grasp it. Whatever it was. It always felt just out of reach. Until now. Until right now.”

Turns out, what Drake wants is Bernard. After saving his life, Drake pays Bernard a visit. “I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about that night and I don’t know what it meant to me,” Drake says. “But I’d like to find out.” Bernard, not missing a beat, replies smoothly, “I was hoping you would. Tim Drake… do you want to go on a date with me?” “Yeah … yeah. I think I want that,” replies Drake.

According to the comic’s writer, Meghan Fitzman, the moment is small and tender by design. In an interview with Polygon, Fitzman said she didn’t want to put a label on Drake, nor did she want to undercut his long-term, off-again-on-again relationship with fellow superhero Stephanie Brown, a.k.a. Spoiler. “I wanted to pay tribute to the fact that sexuality is a journey,” Fitzman said. “Tim is still figuring himself out. I don’t think he has the language for it all… yet.”

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As for all that taunting from the ether Drake mentioned, that was probably the legions of fans who, for decades, have been dissecting the homoerotic vibes between Batman and Robin. Over at Slate, Glenn Weldon broke down the almost century-long discourse and pointed out the seriously gay energy of some of the earliest comics to feature Robin.

Take 1942’s Batman No. 13 for exampleIn it, Bruce Wayne and his young companion, Dick Grayson (the original Robin), relax together in a rowboat, on a pond, in the evening, just the two of them. “This is the life,” sighs the young Robin as Batman paddles him around. Readers, as they would grow used to having to do, we're left to interpret exactly what was going on between these two men. Another example: In Batman No. 84 from 1954, Batman and Robin wake up in bed together. “C’mon Dick!” yawns Bruce. “A cold shower, a big breakfast!” So. Much. Sexual. Innuendo.

But now Urban Legends #6, has brought the subtext to the surface, and the famously hesitant Robin has, at last, spoken his truth. "I think I want that," he said, in Drake's signature introspective style. With his coming out, Drake joins fellow queer superheroes like Batwoman and Harley Quinn whose storylines are helping stake out a new, more, queer-inclusive future for classic comic franchises.

This story originally appeared on Esquire.com. Minor edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.

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About The Author
Abigail Covington
Abigail Covington is a journalist and cultural critic based in Brooklyn, New York but originally from North Carolina, whose work has appeared in Slate, The Nation, Oxford American, and Pitchfork.
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